Should trail running shoes be waterproof?
In a word, no! There is often debate around whether or not trail running shoes should be waterproof as obviously they can be exposed to the likes of river crossings, creeks and streams, melted ice, and even just dew off long grass to name but a few. However what must be considered is the same technology that goes in to keeping moisture out of a shoe, also keeps it in the shoe if it does make it's way in, something that's easily done once you go knee deep through a stream or river crossing!
Waterproof active footwear does have it's place but not so much in trail running, because the nature of the activity is that it's performed at intensity you will inevitably sweat and this only comes from one place, inside. A waterproof shoe only serves to retain this moisture rather than wicking it through the fabric of the shoe where you want it to go, otherwise you'll more than likely experience high level discomfort, blisters, and general softening of the skin on your feet which will wear that much faster, resulting in not just an unenjoyable time but potentially a long recovery.
If you are planning on exploring trails that involve water where you know you'll need to get your feet wet, the best advice is to select a trail running shoe with a breathable mesh upper to allow any moisture to easily escape, work it's way out of the shoe, and evaporate as you're running, or alternatively select a trail running shoe that has a fabric with moisture wicking properties that not only draw away moisture (sweat) from your feet, but also dry extremely fast while you focus on the job at hand.
It's a fairly cut and dried debate this one (pun intended), trails shoes need to breathe and allow moisture both in and out, so if you're considering a waterproof option we suggest thinking again.